Police and prosecutors across the country are grappling with questions regarding the impact of federal hemp laws on criminal marijuana investigations. As one state attorney in Florida put it: Legal hemp is going to make state-level marijuana arrests a whole lot tougher.
Los Angeles marijuana criminal defense lawyers understand it comes down to the way marijuana trafficking investigations are so often initiated around the country: The ever-objective nose test.
To be fair, cannabis does have its own distinct olfactory properties. As many defense attorneys will tell you in states where the drug is still either banned entirely or restricted to card-carrying medical users, a sizable percentage of marijuana arrests begin with a traffic stop, detection of that aroma and a warrantless vehicle search. (These searches often yield items unrelated, such as other narcotics, firearms, etc.)
Historically, it’s been difficult for marijuana defense lawyers to dispute an officer’s sense of smell, especially where marijuana was indeed later found.
But now, virtually all arrests stemming from that common scenario are going to be called into question, if a memo from one state attorney is correct. Continue reading